Willing to do the Jews a pleasure - This was merely to please them, and conciliate their esteem; for he knew that, as Paul was a Roman citizen, he could not oblige him to take a new trial at Jerusalem.
But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure - Desirous of securing their favor, as he had just entered on his administration. Compare Acts 24:27. In this he evinced rather a desire of popularity than an inclination to do justice. Had he been disposed to do right at once, he would have immediately discharged Paul. Festus perceived that the case was one that did not come fairly within the jurisdiction of a Roman magistrate; that it pertained solely to the customs and questions among the Jews Acts 25:18-20; and he therefore proposed that the case should be tried before him at Jerusalem. It is remarkable, however, that he had such a sense of justice and law as not to suffer the case to go out of his own hands. He proposed still to hear the cause, but asked Paul whether he was willing that it should be tried at Jerusalem. As the question which he asked Paul was one on which he was at liberty to take his own course, and as Paul had no reason to expect that his going to Jerusalem would facilitate the cause of justice, it is not remarkable that he declined the offer, as perhaps Festus supposed he would.
This chapter is based on Acts 25:1-12.
“When Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, and desired favor against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem.” In making this request they purposed to waylay Paul along the road to Jerusalem and murder him. But Festus had a high sense of the responsibility of his position, and courteously declined to send for Paul. “It is not the manner of the Romans,” he declared, “to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have license to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.” He stated that “he himself would depart shortly” for Caesarea. “Let them there ... which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.” AA 428.1Read in context »